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In conversation with Amrutha Venkatesh: MadRasana Festival 2018

How important is the lyrical value of a Carnatic composition- Along with the beauty of the raga and the taalam used?

Absolutely important. If the Raga and Taalam for a particular composition are set along with the lyrics , the aptness of the lyrics usually co-relates with the mood of the Raga , the meaning of the song and the Thalam and the pace of the song.

If the lyrics are written first and then a person decides to tune them, then it is important that a Raga and Thalam which will suit the lyrics are chosen.

The Carnatic Music system is structured mainly around two aspects, that which is set(Kalpita Sangeetam) and that which is impromptu(Manodharma or Kalpana Sangeetam)

The essence of Kalpita Sangitam is the lyric of course with the Raaga and Thaalam mutually complementing it.

Tell us about your performance at MadRasana this year and your opinion on this beautiful idea/concept

It was the first time for me in this unique ambience. Kudos to MadRasana for the Innovative idea and for thinking out of the box.The audience seemed to have really loved the overall experience. I had a great time performing with my co-artistes Sri M. Rajeev ,Sri Arjun Ganesh and Dr.S.Karthick.Every arrangement was very aesthetically done.

Most influential classical Tamil poets in your mind? Do you plan to recreate their magic through your vocals?

I like to sing Prabandhams of the Azhwars as Viruttams or set them to tune as songs.

Your top three most favourite raagas to perform on stage. And why?

I have too many to list out really!

Do you think a raaga’s emotional graph is limited to its notes? Or it depends on how the artist perceives it?

It is very subjective. Every note sounds different in a different Ragam, in a different context.

Even in the same Raaga, one note can sound really different in different contexts.

For example the Ga in Thodi, the Ma in Saveri.

A Raaga like Shubha Pantuvarali can be made to sound sprightly and cheerful too.

Your inspirations in Carnatic music singing. And what made them your inspiration.

There are a lot of artists. I usually like to take as many positives as possible from as many artists as possible.

When given a choice- would you prefer singing a Ghana raaga (like Nata, Arabhi) or a Naya raaga?

I love singing both the Ghana and Naya Raagas. It depends on the mood of all the artists on stage on a given day, the pulse of the audience and the theme of the concert if any.

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